By Jane Alexander 7:00AM BST 28 Sep 2009 Comments
Sometimes the oldest and simplest products are the best. Mud from the lowland moorland of Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia has been used for wellbeing for at least 2,000 years. The Romans prized it for its health and strength- promoting qualities and the Celts dunked themselves into the odd mud bath, too. Now “moor mud” has become the latest must-try treatment for celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Trinny and Susannah, Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker.
It’s thick and black (though odour free) and my first impression was one of mild aversion. I was introduced to it at the Tyringham Hall naturopathic clinic in Buckinghamshire around 15 years ago. ”Climb in and relax for 20 minutes,” said the therapist, pointing at a bath full of murky black water. ”Honestly, it’s lovely. Just make sure you have a little rest afterwards.”
I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 16 hours later. I felt fabulous – serene yet energised, and my skin was soft and toned. I’ve been hooked ever since and my son has grown up with mud rather than Matey in the bathtub.
Moor mud is unique because it has evolved over 20,000 years. More than 1,000 herbs, plants, grasses and flowers have decomposed into the waters, turning it into a nutritious soup of vitamins, minerals, plant-based hormones and other phytonutrients.
Central Europeans prize their mud for its natural healing ability, hence its popularity with doctors and vets. A moor product is even used in Austrian casualty departments as a treatment for burns. Research has shown that the mud can help to improve the circulation, soothe aching muscles and reduce swelling in joints. Some claim that drinking it can calm and heal the gut. Others even believe it can help infertility. What is certain is that the ooze acts as a natural exfoliator and also hydrates the body. As the mud contains essential oils, fats and lipids, it is able to penetrate the skin with ease and many people swear it helps smooth away wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin.